Third District Congressman John Yarmuth has help secure $375,000 in federal funds to fight youth substance abuse.
The $375,000 in federal funding will be divided up among three different community groups that work to prevent drug abuse among teenagers and young adults in Louisville. The funding is part of a larger $76.7 million investment in the Drug-Free Communities Program, which was established in 1997 to help mobilize local individuals and organizations to prevent youth substance abuse.
Tomy Baker Molloy is coordinator for the Seventh Street Corridor PAL Coalition, which will get $125,000 of the grant. She says the funding is a needed investment that will help turn young people away from harm.
“It’s vital for our organization. We work in the Park Hill, Algonquin and Old Louisville neighborhoods where youth are typically disenfranchised and not so engaged,” she says.
The Seventh Street coalition works to reduce substance abuse in parts of Old Louisville, Park Hill and several South End neighborhoods. The Portland Now Prevention Partnership and the Louisville Metro Alliance for Youth are also getting grant funds.
“These organizations provide vital neighborhood-level support in our ongoing efforts to curb substance abuse among young people in Louisville,” Yarmuth said in a news release. “From Shawnee to Okolona, from Fairdale to Portland and throughout central Louisville, these federal investments will support prevention initiatives and help build safe, healthy communities.”
The Drug-Free Communities Program was created by the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997, and has been re-authorized by Congress in 2001 and 2006. Over 2,000 grants have been awarded across the country since 1998.
Molloy says those grants has been the bulk of the group’s funding over the years adding, their program is unique because it recruits young people to help with the outreach.
“We really try to focus on proactive events and engagement opportunities for the youth versus preaching the drug free message,” she says. “We’d rather keep the youth engaged and keep them active in their communities.”